Review Summary: Everything is beneath the surface
Slice through the noise, the filth, the wires and parts of a thousand failed modifications. Under the waste you will find a human, though withered and abused still very much human. The body clutches on to something from a past life that keeps it alive. The machines feed on the tiny emotional responses the body still has.
What makes industrial and noise music so interesting? The music is torturous, violent and ugly. These genres of mechanical grinding as some the ultimate forms of human expression. Strip back all the surface features, and all the musical conventions and you find the artist by itself with ultimate freedom. The results are ugly, dark, experimental and yet fully human.
, the first album by industrial noise artist Opiate Birth, fully explores the realization and destruction of one's humanity. Previous projects by Opiate Birth's Zachary Lindsay, like Volcanic Queen, did explore the dark reaches of music. Yet, none have dedicated themselves to a constant noise punishment like Subliminal Lacerations. The album splits itself into three-two song sections, feeding a brooding concept.
The first part consists of the songs In Search of Human Flesh and Sacrificed. These two tracks are the most lyrically heavy on the album and involve a inner conversation of confessions. The vocals are buried beneath a mountain of distortion and noise, making a set of the written lyrics a must for a full experience of the songs. In Search of Human Flesh starts the album out strong with a highlight. The track starts offs with a shock of heavy looping percussion that fade away to waves of noise. The waves of noise almost become soothing by the end of the track, an impressive feat considering the amount of distortion coating the instruments.
Through Rocks and Pillars and Broken Spine completed the second section of the album. The two songs show the biggest clash between styles. Through Rocks and Pillars supports the cleanest production, most understandable lyrics and is overall the most passionate track of Subliminal Lacerations
. On the other hand, Broken Spine is the most mechanical and punishing track. Broken Spine's never ending rhythm has very 80's ebm feel to it, sounding like something Front Line Assembly could produce, but with a much more sinister atmosphere. Though both these tracks rely heavily on repetition, the first always seems to growing, trying to reach a ultimate goal. where as the latter is very stagnate dynamically, perfectly representing continuous torture.
The final movement of the album includes Total Decay and Pain In Mind. Total Decay is a feast of mind-numbing noise, showing that the torture from Broken Spine has left the body unable to feel anything. The album closes with another insane ebm rhythm on Pain In Mind that is both punishing and danceable. The track then falls into repeating electronic buzzing and finishes with its most nihilistic lyrics. The closing track displays the character's complete disconnection.
While many industrial bands fall into certain conventions, completely destroying the experimental intrigue of the genre. Opiate Birth has carved its own niche, creating a very original album that mostly succeeds at its ambitious concept. The search through the noise and filth will be difficult, but given the chance the consuming music will lead you to find something very human.